Weather officials are urging residents to avoid unnecessary travel in rural and open areas on Wednesday morning, as near-whiteout conditions are expected because of gusty winds and blowing snow.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for most of northern Illinois and parts of northwest Indiana, as wind gusts in excess of 40 miles per hour could cause blowing and drifting snow across the area through Wednesday evening.
The alert described “near ground blizzard” conditions as being likely with the winds, which will shift out of the west and will impact north-south roadways.
The advisory will begin at 9 p.m. for McHenry, Lake, DeKalb and Kane counties in Illinois, and will expire at 3 p.m. Wednesday. The advisory will begin at the same time in LaSalle, Kendall and Grundy counties, but won’t expire until 6 p.m. Wednesday.
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In DuPage, Cook and Will counties, along with Lake and Porter counties in Indiana, the advisory will take effect at 3 a.m. Wednesday and will expire at 6 p.m.
In Kankakee County in Illinois, along with Newton and Jasper counties in Indiana, a wind advisory will be in effect during those hours.
According to forecasters, strong winds are expected to develop out of the south Tuesday evening, initially impacting east-west roadways, but those winds will shift later, impacting north-south roadways for the duration of the advisory.
Those wind gusts could exceed 40-to-50 miles per hour in some locations in the advisory area, causing hazardous travel conditions.
Wednesday morning, snow showers could only exacerbate the issues, potentially impacting morning commutes and causing hazardous travel conditions across the region.
Forecasters with NWS are urging residents to consider postponing unnecessary travel in rural and outlying areas.
Another challenge will come in the way of rapidly dropping temperatures, as wind chills will likely fall below zero by daybreak Wednesday. High temps for the remainder of the work week aren’t expected to get out of the teens, with wind chills hovering near or below zero through Saturday.